Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today nominated Maria T. Vullo to serve as the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services. Vullo is an experienced senior litigator and manager, with more than 25 years of practice in business litigation and investigations. She is of counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she was a partner for 20 years. She previously oversaw the Economic Justice Division in the Office of the New York State Attorney General, with a staff of approximately 200.
The Department of Financial Services is charged with protecting consumers and markets in New York State from fraud and financial crises, as well as reforming the regulation of financial services to keep pace with dynamic changes within the industry. DFS was created in 2011 by the merger of the state’s Banking and Insurance Departments.
“Maria Vullo is a dedicated, tough and fair litigator with the right combination of public and private sector experience needed to lead the Department of Financial Services,” said Governor Cuomo. “Maria has shown an immovable commitment to upholding the law and protecting consumers, and I am confident that she would be a strong and tireless advocate for the people of New York as Superintendent.”
Maria T. Vullo said: "It is an honor and a privilege to be nominated to serve as Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. I thank Governor Cuomo for this tremendous opportunity, and am excited to serve the people of the State of New York once again. I look forward to working with the talented men and women at DFS to strengthen our markets and protect investors and consumers from unlawful business practices."
Over the course of her career, Vullo’s legal experience has included matters involving securities and other fraud, real estate, health care, insurance, tax, consumer protection, bankruptcy, antitrust, constitutional and environmental law. She was selected twice by the New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination as a candidate for Associate Judge on the Court of Appeals, and has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, and the New York State Appellate Division.
In 2010 Vullo served as Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice under then New York State Attorney General Cuomo. There she oversaw the Bureaus of Investor Protection, Antitrust, Real Estate Finance, Consumer Frauds and Internet. In that role she handled numerous consumer protection, investor protection and antitrust matters, including:
- actions against Ezra Merkin and Ivy Asset Management for alleged fraud relating to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme;
- investigations and settlements with numerous retailers involved in alleged deception of customers who were charged hidden fees for discount clubs online;
- an investigation and action against Ernst & Young for losses to investors resulting from the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers;
- actions against real estate developers for misrepresentations in offering plans;
- actions against social networking sites to prevent the proliferation of child pornography;
- an investigation of the life insurance industry regarding payouts to military families;
- an antitrust action against liquid crystal display manufacturers for alleged criminal price fixing conduct that resulted in overcharges to millions of New York consumers; and
- settlements with insurance companies for improper surcharges regarding workers' compensation.
Vullo is a recognized leader in protecting women’s rights in a variety of cases, including representing women raped by soldiers during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War – a case in which she secured a $745 million jury verdict for the plaintiffs. Her pro bono work also includes representing abortion providers whose lives had been threatened via an online “hit list;” in that case she secured a $100 million jury verdict for the plaintiffs. She is a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Organization of Italian-American Women, the Women’s Equality Coalition and the ERA Coalition, Inc.; and is a member of the New York Women’s Bar Association and the Women Trial Lawyers Caucus.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said: "I congratulate Maria Vullo on her nomination to become the next Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. Maria is well known and highly regarded as a skillful lawyer who has handled many complex civil and regulatory matters in her years in government and private practice. She is a lawyer who is tough but fair. Those qualities will serve the Governor and all of New York well in the important role she will now play as the State's chief regulator of the financial community."
Lorin L. Reisner, former Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and former Deputy Director of the Enforcement Division, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said: “Maria Vullo is an absolutely outstanding choice to lead the Department of Financial Services. Maria has exactly the right combination of toughness, judgment and experience to succeed in this important position.”
Trevor W. Morrison, Dean and Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, said: "Maria is one of NYU Law’s most distinguished graduates. Over the course of her stellar career, she has earned a reputation as a first-rate advocate, a wise counsellor, and a person with a deep commitment to the public interest. We congratulate Governor Cuomo on this tremendous appointment.”
Judith Hope, Founder of Eleanor's Legacy, said: "We applaud the nomination of Maria T. Vullo for superintendent of the Department of Financial Services. For over 25 years, in both private practice and public service, Maria has built a reputation as a fearless advocate for protecting the interests of New Yorkers and expanding economic justice. The nomination of Maria Vullo to be the first woman to lead the Department highlights the invaluable contribution of New York women to our state's economic success."
Vullo clerked for the Hon. John A. Mackenzie, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia. She earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law, an M.P.A. from the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service as part of its Executive Leadership Program, and a B.A. from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Vullo has been named a “New York Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers Magazine and was included in the “Defense Hot List” published by the National Law Journal. She recently received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Interfaith Nutrition Network, as well the Distinguished Corporate Citizen Award from A Better Balance, among many other awards and professional recognitions.
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